I have always wanted to visit Lübeck. It influenced my Gdansk – as far as the City Rights are concerned, and city outlines (to some extend) too. So when a friend of mine (a guide as myself) called me one evening with a suggestion to go to visit the town, where the Hanseatic League started – I agreed without hesitation.
And so we went, for three days. The flight from Gdansk takes about 50 minutes.
We got off the plane at half past 5 p.m., into a little airport – somewhere in the middle of nowhere. With no idea where to get to the bus to the town’s center, nor how long does it take to get there.. Luckily today, the modern lingua franca is English – so we managed to get some information from the Airport Information Desk. We found the bus stop, and for 3 EUR per person we bought tickets to the town. It takes 30 minutes’ drive to get off at the Lübeck bus station. And this was exactly where we wanted to get off. We had a room booked in one of the small hotels in the near vicinity of the station. We left our luggage and started off to encounter with the city. We walked to the Holstentor, which looks splendid every hour of the day (or night), and past it – to the center of the old town. We walked it for about 4 hours. And I can say – we saw most of it. At the same time – we knew, and planned what to see next day.
Here are some photos I have taken during the short three days visit to Lübeck. It is a pity, that out of 2000 photos, only about 1600 have relatively good quality. I had no tripod, so especially in bad light the pictures turned out to be somewhat out of focus… But – still those, which I have seem to be a fine memory of an interesting trip.
It is not to expensive to stay in Lübeck, as cost of coffee starts from 2 EUR, the cost of a snack starts from 2 EUR. Museum and church entrance fees vary from 3 to 6 EUR. Hotels can be easily booked through booking. com.
Example entrance fees to the MUST SEE’s are: * St. Mary’s Church – 3 EUR (and you do not get the receipt there), * Town Hall – 4 EUR (the tours are everyday at 11:00, 12:00 and 13:00), * St. Anne’s Museum – 6 EUR – BUT – you need to ask for a ticket for two museums – so that for the second one you pay only half price. If you do not ask it – nobody will propose this to you. It is good to know – what to demand. This information you can get at the Lübeck Welcome Center. However – probably due to the low season (we went there this January) – it takes a bit to attract attention of the staff. But finally – then they are very helpful, kind, and informative. It also is good to print out a map of free toilets.
Remember, that you will not be allowed to take ANY pictures in the St. Anne’s Museum nor in the Buddenbrook House (situated in the house of the famous Mann family). Besides – DO NOT await any impressive interiors in the Buddenbrook House, as unfortunately it was thoroughly remodelled after the last film adaptation of 2008. However – one can take a walk – tracing the Buddenbrook family story – with the book and the map of the town.
NB. anyone wanting to see a perfect example of a merchant house interior – will have to come to Gdansk – to visit the Uphagen House, which has been perfectly rebuilt and refurnished after the destruction of the City by the Red Army in 1945.
This was what I was thinking of – while walking the streets of Lübeck. The city was bombed in 1942, but despite this tragedy – fate spared the city the hellish suffer from the Red Army furious invasion, which hit my Gdansk. Lübeck did not suffer from the Communist regime, as Poland did, so the city was rebuilt and reconstructed – exactly (or as exactly as could be) as it was before the war tragedy. Besides – the population of Lübeck – unlike in Gdansk – did not change. The centuries of family traditions, everyday customs, even marzipan production – did not change as the years and centuries went by. There is a continuation of all that forms the Self Identity of a Hanseatic City… Nothing like that can anymore be found in Gdansk.
So – this is what I was thinking – while walking the streets of the Hanseatic Town of Lübeck… The Hanseatic tradition is still seen everywhere – while in Gdansk only few know what was this organisation, and few only realize that Gdansk was one of the mightiest Hanseatic cities of its times… In Lübeck no-one fights against history. It is accepted and present, and is a source of pride. Whilst in Gdansk it is clearly seen that the history is not accepted at all by majority, being the descendants of the post-war settlers. There is a great and foolish crusade against the Hanseatic look and tradition of the town. The latest exmaple of the lack of common sense and the lack of any taste (!) was the consent to build the so-called Shakespearean Theater (although nobody knows for sure whether any of Shakespeare’s plays were ever played here centuries ago). Well, but what can be awaited of the people, who in majority are the post war settlers, or their descendants – having no will to dig into the rich history of Gdansk!!
Those of us, who have Gdansk roots going back several centuries, or those who are lovers of the town’s great history, fear that untill the next elections – the city will be spoiled with such unwise, disgusting and ugly designs, amidst political quarrels, and corruption.
Envy – sad envy – this is what we both felt when taking hundreds of photographs and enjoying the views of splendid Lübeck, and while inhaling its atmosphere. We somehow felt at home there. Even though neither of us speaks German – the atmosphere of a Hanseatic Grandeur felt familiar – but we both come from Gdansk, also once proud and rich Hanseatic and Royal city.
However – here in my hometown, one can still feel that atmosphere of Grandeur, if only one knows where to open the eyes, or set the ears…